Posts Tagged ‘msnbc’

The Failure of Embryonics To Produce

In ALL ARTICLES on August 18, 2009 at 8:30 am
A Victimless crime? Hardly!

“…since few people can afford to travel outside the country for adult stem cell treatments, ESC-crazed America, the Bangladesh of stem cells, with its focus on “treatment useless” embryonic research, and 4-8 years behind the rest of the world on available adult stem cell treatments, has become exactly that, a death row prison cell for those suffering from so-called untreatable diseases.” –



Published: August 18, 2009

None of This Stuff Works

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Five Years after Proposition 71

When the campaign for California’s 2004 Proposition 71 was underway, Californians were inundated with claims that stem cells taken from embryos were the magical key to curing any number of diseases and medical conditions. At the time MSNBC reported: “The passage of the measure — designed to get around the Bush administration’s restrictions on the funding of such research — will likely put California at the forefront of the field and dwarfs all current stem cell projects in the United States, whether privately or publicly financed.”

Those who opposed the destruction of human embryos for research, including the Catholic Church, were derided as being “anti-science.” But as advances in the treatment of diseases and medical conditions using adult stem cells multiply daily and the technical limitations of embryonic stem cells remain, it appears that the Church’s morally correct position was scientifically correct. These advances, well known to scientists, have not been given the attention in the mainstream media, although they are having to sit up and take notice. On March 31, 2009 Dr. Mehmet Oz shocked Oprah Winfrey, guest Michael J. Fox , and Oprah’s audience, by stating categorically that “the stem cell debate is dead” and that the future lay with adult stem cells.

On April 14, 2009, the San Francisco Weekly published an article by Peter Jamison on the status of stem cell research in the state of California and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. This is the organization created by the state of California to allocate funds granted by Proposition 71. The scientists Jamison interviewed spoke about the limitations of embryonic stem cells. Warner Greene, director of the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunolgy in San Francisco said: “The challenge of harnessing pluripotent stem cells’ random genetic capabilities is what has prevented their medical applications, while projects involving less malleable adult stem cells move ahead. Greene, for his part, has staked out a clear position on the need to hold the former category of cells back, for now, from clinical trials. ‘There’s no way to hop over this basic biology,’ he said in an interview.”

Other scientists echo this view of embryonic stem cells: “There’s more that we don’t understand than we do,’ says Eric Rulifson, a researcher at the UCSF Diabetes Center. ‘None of this stuff works. There’s no stem cell therapy that works without causing harm, because we don’t understand what stem cells do.’” Jamison, speaking in lay terms, said “You wouldn’t know it from listening to Obama or the promises of the Prop. 71 campaign, but human embryonic stem cells are, when not tightly controlled, a substance akin to poison.”

So what is the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, created to further embryonic stem cell research, to do? According to Jamison, the institute is starting to focus on adult stem cells, because after five years and $3 billion the people of California want to see some results. And adult stem cells are where the results are. In March, Jamison attended the institute’s “Open Forum” at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel: “The star of the show was Tamara Alliston, a Ph.D. from UCSF’s Cartilage Repair and Regeneration Center. She researches methods for regenerating cartilage using mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in various adult body parts. Her work could one day provide significant relief to those suffering from arthritis — a degenerative condition, affecting five million Californians and 27 million Americans, about which shockingly little is known. Since the cells are harvested from consenting adults, her work is free of ethical debates and culture politics — in fact, it falls safely within the research parameters established in 2001 by Bush….It is difficult to overlook the irony of a situation in which state officials, seeking to deliver on the promises of a ballot initiative intended to overcome the Bush administration’s supposed limits on the advance of science, turn for their salvation to research Bush never restricted in the first place.”

The guiltiest snake-oil salesmen for embryonic stem cell research were never scientists. They were, and continue to be, members of the political class and the mainstream media. An example is the inexcusable claim made in January, 2009, by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “Scientists have been given an almost biblical power to cure through advances in embryonic stem cell research.” What could motivate such an irrational statement, utterly in conflict with the statements of the scientists themselves? In a November 20, 2007 article in First Things Joseph Bottum opined: “I have long suspected that science, in the context of the editorial page of the New York Times, was simply a stalking-horse for something else. In fact, for two something-elses: a chance to discredit America’s religious believers and an opportunity to put yet another hedge around the legalization of abortion. After all, if our very health depends on the death of embryos, and we live in a culture that routinely destroys early human life in the laboratory, no grounds could exist for objecting to abortion.”

via http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=714aadd9-f036-4ee3-b74c-244b431867dd

Stem cell pioneer does a reality check – Cloning and stem cells- msnbc.com


One of my favorite scientists and articles. Dr Thomson, father of embryonic stem cells, tells the real story! – dg

“…embryonic stem cells are not being used in any clinical applications yet, while alternatives such as adult stem cells figure in scores of therapies.”

“Ten or 20 years from now…there will be transplantation-based therapies, , but even if there was none, and it was a complete failure, this technology is extraordinarily important” Dr T.

James Thomson reflects on science and morality – Stem cell pioneer does a reality check

By Alan Boyle

Science editor – msnbc.com – updated 6:29 p.m. ET, Sat., June. 25, 2005

MADISON, Wis. — Seven years ago, when James Thomson became the first scientist to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells, he knew he was stepping into a whirlwind of controversy.

He just didn’t expect the whirlwind to last this long.

In fact, the moral, ethical and political controversy is still revving up — in Washington, where federal lawmakers are considering a bill to provide more federal support for embryonic stem cell research; and in Madison, Thomson’s base of operations, where Wisconsin legislators are considering new limits on stem cell research.

Thomson, a developmental biologist and veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, made history in 1998 when he and fellow researchers derived the first embryonic stem cell lines from frozen human embryos. The breakthrough came after the news that a sheep named Dolly was born as the first cloned mammal — and together, the two announcements hinted at a brave new world of medical possibilities and moral debates.

Some of Thomson’s other pronouncements might seem more surprising: that supporters of stem cell research are overestimating the prospects for transplantation cures, that the current stem cell lines aren’t well-suited for such applications anyway, and that there’s no need to resort to therapeutic cloning right now — or perhaps ever.

Critics point out that embryonic stem cells are not being used in any clinical applications yet, while alternatives such as adult stem cells figure in scores of therapies. Thomson acknowledged that the field was still in its formative stage: “There have been companies that have gone into stem cells, but nobody’s made any money.”

But he recently helped found a biotech start-up called Cellular Dynamics International that takes a different approach, aiming eventually to turn embryonic stem cells into human heart cells suitable for drug testing. “Nobody’s been able to test heart drugs on heart cells [outside the human body] before,” he said. “That will change medicine a lot quicker than actually transplanting those heart cells.”

Thomson predicted that in the long run, embryonic stem cells would play a more important role in fundamental research than in transplantation therapies — a view that doesn’t sit well with the critics.

“You have to ask the question, why would you destroy living human embryos just to study them?” said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life.

In last week’s wide-ranging interview, Thompson explained the reasons behind the research, and touched on many other scientific and moral issues as well. Here is an edited transcript:

MSNBC: How do see this research developing in the next few years?

Thomson: I want to make a basic statement first — which almost never gets in the press, but I keep trying — on what I see as the legacy of these cells.

One is the basic science, and simply having better access to the human body. That’s the most important legacy. I’m very hopeful that there will be some transplantation applications for this technology, but they’re going to be very challenging. And it’s been so hyped in the press that people expect it to come the day after tomorrow. …

Ten or 20 years from now, I’m actually currently optimistic that there will be transplantation-based therapies, but even if there was none, and it was a complete failure, this technology is extraordinarily important.

via Stem cell pioneer does a reality check – Cloning and stem cells- msnbc.com.

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